"Today, tactical nuclear weapons in the Euro-Atlantic region are more of a security risk than asset to NATO." – Sam Nunn
Cited in Steve Andreasan. Warning Bells Around Tactical Nuclear Weapons in Europe, July 21, 2016, http://www.nti.org/analysis/articles/warning-bells-around-tactical-nuclear-weapons-europe/
ZeroHedge and Telesur are reporting rumors of a "second coup" in Turkey after a Saturday night lockdown at Incirlik Base, a NATO outpost with thousands of US troops:
U.S. Base in Turkey on Lockdown amid Rumors of 2nd Coup. Telesur, July 30, 2016, http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/U.S.-Base-in-Turkey-on-Lockdown-amid-Rumors-of-2nd-Coup-20160730-0023.htmlZerohedge reports that Incirlik has between 50 and 90 "tactical nuclear weapons." Zerohedge notes that over 5,000 Turkish protestors had marched on the base shouting anti-American slogans earlier in the week:
Turkish police said that the base is back to normal after deploying 7,000 personnel to surround the base.
The Incirlik base, which hosts thousands of U.S. troops and serves as a NATO outpost to Iraq and Syria, was shut down Saturday night amid rumors of a second coup attempt.
The entrances and exits were closed, and 7,000 riot police, counter-terrorism police and armored vehicles joined soldiers at the base in Adana to secure the premises.
All forces, "like those that served on July 15," were deployed to deal with the "crisis" situation, announced Adana police.
They added two and a half hours later that everything was back to normal. The minister of EU affairs also tweeted that the lockdown was part of a "safety inspection" and that "there is no issue."
RT reports a slightly different version of the news:
Turkey Surrounds, Blocks Access To NATO's Incirlik Airbase Amid Speculation Of Second Coup. ZeroHedge, July 30, 2016, http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-07-30/turkey-surrounds-blocks-access-natos-incirlik-airbase-amid-speculation-second-coup
1,000s Turkish forces surround NATO’s Incirlik air base for ‘inspection’ amid rumors of coup attempt. RT, https://www.rt.com/news/354042-turkish-police-incirlik-nato-coup/
Some 7,000 armed police in heavy vehicles surrounded the Incirlik air base used by NATO forces in Adana in what a Turkish minister called a “security check.” With no official explanation, speculations have arisen about a new coup attempt or VIP visit.Wikipedia provides some background on the base and recent events leading up to this weekend's closure:
Incirlik Air Base (Turkish: İncirlik Hava Üssü) (IATA: UAB, ICAO: LTAG) is an air base of slightly more than 3320 ac (1335 ha), located in the İncirlik quarter of the city of Adana. The base is within an urban area of 1.7 million people, 10 km (6 mi) east of the city core, and 32 km (20 mi) inland from the Mediterranean Sea. The United States Air Force and the Turkish Air Force are the primary users of the air base, although it is also used by the Royal Air Force and by Royal Saudi Air Force....The Washington Post provides some context on the nuclear weapons stored there, deriving from a 1960s weapons deal:
2016 Turkish coup attempt. As a result of the 2016 Turkish coup d'état attempt, external electrical power from Turkey had been cut to the base and a Turkish no fly order had been put into effect for US military aircraft in the area. Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook "U.S. facilities at Incirlik are operating on internal power sources." EUCOM spokesman Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez said about the situation "All our assets in Turkey are fully under control and there was no attempt to challenge that status." "There was not chaos at this base,". The security level at base has moved to DELTA, the highest level, U.S. personnel are ordered restricted base, and locals were denied access. By 17th of July commercial electrical power remained disconnected but permission from Turkey to conduct US anti-Daesh air operations from Incirlik resumed, the Turkish base commander, General Bekir Ercan Van, was arrested by Turkish forces loyal to sitting president Erdoğan. General Van sought asylum from the United States but was denied (Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incirlik_Air_Base).
Dan Lamothe. July 19, 2016. The U.S. stores nuclear weapons in Turkey. Is that such a good idea? The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2016/07/19/an-old-nuclear-weapons-deal-raises-new-questions-about-u-s-bombs-in-turkey/
The “special weapons” are there as part of a nuclear-sharing agreement among NATO allies, including Turkey and the United States. The weapons deal, reached in the 1960s, holds that some NATO allies will allow the storage of B61 nuclear gravity bombs on their land, while other countries will commit to maintaining aircraft capable of delivering them, according to one NATO outline. The United States keeps possession of and provides security for the bombs wherever they are....
...Critics of nuclear sharing in Turkey argue that the country’s instability make it a poor choice for nuclear weapons, especially this year as the country deals with an Islamist terrorism threat that has grown large enough that the United States sent home the family members of most diplomats and service members earlier this year.
I am reminded of this song by New Model Army